Toyota Puts Brake on Sales to Address Safety Issues

January 27, 2010

By Angie Moreschi:

Drivers who own Toyota vehicles are confused and concerned, as the car company struggles to deal with  growing safety concerns over sticking gas pedals. In his first public comment since the latest recalls, Toyota’s President apologized for the situation.  “I am deeply sorry,” Akio Toyoda said in a brief interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

This week Toyota suspended the sale of eight of its most popular models now on the road in the United States and extended it’s recall to China and Europe. Watch the video above for a report from ABC News, whose investigative correspondent Brian Ross first exposed the problem.

Toyota dealers across the country have been instructed not to sell the 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra, 2008-2010 Sequoia, and certain 2007-2010 Camry models.  Production of the models has also been halted at several plants throughout the US.  This move came after the recall of more than 2 million vehicles last week and another 4.2 million in late 2009.  The action will cost Toyota 100’s of millions of dollars.

The problem with the sticking gas pedals has led to sudden, unexplained acceleration, which has resulted in some fatalities.  There is a great deal of confusion over exactly what Toyota owners should do.  The company has told customers to continue to drive the vehicles, even though some could be unsafe.

What to do

For anyone driving around in one of these recalled vehicles, it’s important for you to know what to do if you experience a problem.  If you have any sudden or unexplained acceleration, put the car in neutral and press on the brake hard until the car comes safely to a stop, and then turn off the car.  Do not pump your brakes, because you will lose your power brakes. Do not turn off the ignition, because you will lose your power steering.

This is a safety nightmare for consumers and a PR debacle for a company that has, until now, been revered for good engineering and an award winning safety record.  How it turns out will depend greatly on Toyota taking responsibility and moving forward with decisive action.  First, the company must figure out what exactly the problem is and then come up with a swift plan to fix it.

Kudos to Brian Ross and his investigative team at ABC News for uncovering this defect, bringing it to the public’s attention, and holding Toyota accountable.

Click here to read the story of a Toyota owner in New York who brought his truck in to be checked for faulty brakes and ended up getting a loaner car, on the recall list.

Click here for an editorial on the implosion of the Toyota/Lexus brand.